Diving In the Deep
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In 1994, the CHS swimming team began accommodating divers to become the Girls’ Swimming and Diving team. Since then, the squad has taken home the State Championship every year, yet divers on the team are not the typical face of the team’s dominance, as only 14 divers have qualified for state in the past 31 years.
“We’re always trying to improve our position on the team to benefit everyone,” Sophomore and diver Grace Woods said. “Our coaching staff is trying to improve the program to make us more competitive in the state.”
However this season, the diving team was not able to reach State, where the top 32 divers in Indiana compete.
“I’m proud this year we had the chance to send a diver to Regionals,” Junior and diver Sydney Wilson said. “But, none of our girls (on the diving team) went to State.”
Prior to divers and swimmers being on the same team, the swimming team was already doing well, with 8 straight state titles dating back to the 1985-86 season. Today, swimmers and divers may practice at the same time after school, but they take advantage of different coaches to go through their routines. Divers also use separate locker rooms. Despite these differences, each of the athletes work toward the same goal: keep the streak alive.
“It feels good to be part of this program,” Woods said. “It’s a great opportunity to be with other divers and the girls on the swim team.”
While swimming and diving is packaged together in one team, their aspirations and areas of expertise are not the same.
“Swimming and diving are two completely different sports, and because of this, they have different ways of competing,” Woods said. “For example, we sometimes think one sport is harder than another, but they’re just different. The physical aspect of swimming is more overwhelming, but the mental aspect of diving is challenging. This is because divers have to get over mind-blocks, while swimmers have more physical labor.”
Beyond the mind-blocks, divers on the team this year got to train with a new face on staff, as diving coach Austin Rettinghouse joined the program. Rettinghouse, who will be attending the University of Alabama in the fall, began working at CHS in September 2016 and is the newest hire on the team.
“As my first year coaching, it’s pretty nice coming in to a strong program that can win,” Rettinghouse said. “It’s very nice; definitely well earned. The entire team deserves it.”
Challenges associated with diving come first-hand for Rettinghouse, as he competed in high school as the only diver on the team.
“Diving, in general, is not your average sport like football. Anyone can run and throw a ball, but not everyone can dive.” Rettinghouse said. “Diving is very acrobatic and scary because you jump in water head-first. Most of the fears you have involve hitting the board or smacking, so the mental part of diving is the hardest. The physical part isn’t necessarily that hard, as it is to overcome those fears.”
Similarly, a divers’ mentality moments before a dive can be just as important as putting in the practice weeks or months prior.
“The most difficult part is the mental piece of diving. Our coaches will always push us to do more dives,” Wilson said. “It’s not that we physically can’t do the dive, but getting in the right mindset and being confident.